Busoni: Lieder

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LABELS: Warner Fonit
WORKS: Lieder
PERFORMER: Elio Battaglia (baritone), Erik Werba (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 8573-81471-2 ADD Reissue (1978)
Busoni wrote many songs in his Wunderkind youth and virtually only the five Goethe Lieder in his maturity. As this recital vividly shows, if the former are pleasant and show talent (and the Byron ‘Hebrew melodies’ settings something more than that), the latter are indispensable miniature masterpieces – existentially bleak, sardonic and profound. Battaglia’s eloquently Italianate baritone shapes the German texts in a manner that perfectly embodies Busoni’s own paradoxical cultural mix. The recording is fair: shame about the dreadful piano wow in ‘Bin ein fahrender Gesell’ and at the start of ‘Lied des Unmuts’ (which was also on the LP, I recall). Calum MacDonald